Two of the biggest names in WSB boxing sprouted facial hair for the month of November to lend their support to the global men’s health awareness campaign ‘Movember’. England’s Baku 2015 European Games champion Joe Joyce and Ireland’s AIBA World Champion Michael Conlan cultivated their dashing new facial adornments to help continue AIBA’s efforts to focus on the health of its athletes, particularly in the light of a new #HeadsUp! campaign to put boxers first.
“Movember is a great opportunity for people to become aware of the value of men’s health, something men in general don’t want to discuss, especially in a tough sport like boxing,” said a newly hirsute Joe Joyce at the end of the month. “It is admirable that the AIBA medical commission is conducting the relevant studies to ensure that boxers compete in a safer environment”.
Michael Conlan became Ireland’s first ever AIBA World Champion when he won the bantamweight title in Doha in October, and he was happy to support the widening of the discussion of men’s health issues. “Never before have I grown a moustache so this was my first attempt,” said Conlan, sporting a neat pencil for the cause. “It is great that AIBA has fully endorsed this initiative. Most men still have that tough-guy attitude and don’t like to seem vulnerable by discussing the subject.”
Since its inception in 2003, the Movember movement has raised over $650m to support men’s health programmes around the globe. With a strong focus on targeting physical inactivity, high-profile sportsmen have been particularly heavily involved. “I think in this modern era with computer games and social media, children sometimes lack the drive and motivation to be physically active, so boxing is a fun and enjoyable sport to get in to, it teaches you discipline and focus, which is a positive avenue especially during adolescence,” said 2015 AIBA World Championship bronze medalist Joyce.